The implications of ‘defending’ the two-state framework

Ramona Wadi

Middle East Monitor  /  April 4, 2023

When the Palestinian Authority speaks about the “support” it receives from the international community it would do well to revisit the blatant hypocrisy at the UN Security Council briefing last March by France’s Permanent UN Representative, Nicolas de Riviere. Far from speaking of Palestinians’ rights, de Riviere insisted upon the Council’s commitment to the two-state paradigm.

“This Council has a duty to defend the two-state solution. It has a responsibility to the parties,” de Riviere stated. “A political horizon must be restored, which is the only way to implement the two-state solution.”

This political horizon is never defined. Meanwhile, Israel’s overt and very deliberate violations of international law continue to manifest themselves against a backdrop of rhetorical condemnations.

De Riviere’s statement, void as it is of any mention of colonisation, veers heavily towards protecting Israeli interests. Keeping in line with the humanitarian paradigm and Israel’s security narrative, Palestinians and Israelis killed are defined through the respective premises, with the latter being a recurring theme in the Security Council statement. If France and the international community are committed to Israel’s security narrative, there is a contradiction in expecting an internationally-protected settler-colonial enterprise to “protect Palestinian civilians in line with its international obligations”.

So far removed is the international community from the realities of colonialism and related violence, that the Council will indeed not find any obstacle to “defend the two-state solution” which has solved nothing at all. As vague as the “political horizon”, the two-state compromise amounts to nothing other than a relic of a decades-long concept with its roots in the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which failed to protect the rights of the Palestinian people in their homeland. What France is asking the UN Security Council to do is to defend earlier UN complicity with the Zionists’ colonial expansionist plans in occupied Palestine.

Hence, when de Riviere states that France will never recognise illegal annexation of the Palestinian territories, for example, or illegal settlement expansion, the words carry no political significance. Israel has an ally in France, as it does with the rest of the international community which stays silent on colonial violence, and attempts to link any violence to current events, rather than to colonialism’s inherent brutality. If Israel goes ahead with annexation, the international community will still be talking about the two-state compromise as if it were an option, all the while knowing that it will do nothing to reverse Israel’s expansion at the expense of the Palestinians and the imaginary State of Palestine.

Defending the two-state compromise does not provide any defence for Palestinians. Talking about respecting past agreements when Israel has violated them all is senseless. Annexation and the Abraham Accords have altered the already dangerous status quo to one that is swift in meting out violence.

De Riviere should have spoken about how the two-state framework provided Israel with such impunity that the UN would need to turn against itself if any “political horizon” is to be found. De-escalation is temporary, as is the halting of settlement expansion. Not that Israel will agree on temporary measures, either, but the fleeting focus on selective violence that makes headline news does not constitute political concern. Yet this form of politics is what the two-state compromise encourages, to ensure that Palestinians remain caught in situations with no chance of addressing the historical, political and legal wrongs of colonialism.

Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger; her writing covers a range of themes in relation to Palestine, Chile and Latin America.